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Flash Photography Crash Course

Lesson 7 of 13

Setting Up Your Flashes

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Flash Photography Crash Course

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

7. Setting Up Your Flashes
Let’s walk through a few simple flash setups so you can get out and start shooting.

Lesson Info

Setting Up Your Flashes

let's do some actual flash setups using the gear, I've been recommending. I'm gonna show you how easy this actually is. First. We're gonna start with an ultra portable set up. This is my go to set up what I'm using most often. This just for the sake of interest is what it used to look like when we used to use pocket wizards and that whole convoluted mess. So you'll actually still see this slide in lighting too. It's outdated now, we still use the same set up, it's still the same man. This might actually be the exact same manifested as in that picture, but we no longer have all the cables and the mess and everything. All you need for this is just the flash head of your choice. You need your man filter, nano stand and the magma hot shoe. So what we're gonna do is just pop this flash right onto the hot shoe. You don't need to lock the back of the flash anymore. This mag shoe has its own lock that is incredibly secure. So once that's locked, this thing ain't going anywhere. Then all you're...

gonna do is place this right onto the top of your man photo nano stand, tighten this down and you're good to go in seconds. You have your portable flashdance set up, just going to open up this bottom leg and now it's good. One thing here is when you open up the bottom leg like this, I'm gonna make sure you guys aren't leaving it like this. Okay, so when it's left here, even when this is tightened, right, such a narrow stance makes it very easy to kind of tip over. So make sure that when you're opening the stand, this is a big thing when you're doing events or or anything outdoors, the slightest gust of wind is going to take that thing over for guests, like kind of just bumps it, it's going to fall over so widen out the base and then use these to kind of raise it up. If you need to place any modifier on this, I would use a bag or backpack to kind of brace it as you're going to see me do when we actually get onto location and we start shooting. So this is the ultra portable set up. Super easy, very simple. This is my go to probably what I'm using. I would say 90 of the time. I'm gonna place this just off to the side. Now as you can see, I have everything out that I need for a 250 or a watt second pro photo set up. In just a moment. I'm going to show you a similar high power set up using Botox flashpoint paired with magma to so you have both options. Okay, so for the sake of interest, this is again what this used to look like. We used to have to have like battery packs and things like that. Now the battery is self contained right here on the side, you can remove them, replace them. Life is so much better than it was 10 years ago. So all you need is your flash head, 200 watt seconds. You go with the B 10, 500 watt seconds. Go with the B 10 plus. You're gonna need a stand. What I've noted here is when you're using this guy, you want to pair this with the B 10, it's gonna be okay. It's not gonna be that stable. Don't do this on the beach where it's super windy, but wherever you are, you going to use your backpack or whatever you have with you to brace the stand. Okay? You need someone to brace the stand when you're using this guy, you need to brace for the stand either way. But when I pair this together, you'll see in the video that I'm using my backpack or just have someone hold it. You can also use the mono pod or you can use a heavier duty standards. It's gonna be a little bit more weight to carry with you along with that, you know, the sandbag. So what I have to go along with, there are some modifiers that I'll demonstrate as well. This guy is the little base that comes with the flash unit so you can actually separated just for easier portability once it's separated. This thing is pretty small, pretty lightweight. Again about the same size as like a 70-200. So you can connect it very simply. You're going to adjust the base and you're going to connect this to the stand just like you would the previous light. Okay, put this on and let me just hold this over the camera. So once that goes on, just like that, you're going to open this up, get it down onto that little head and then go ahead and give it a good tightening. Okay, of course, when you take off the cover, just like you would a lens. Now this guy is ready to go. Same thing. We're gonna open up the stand was the wrong. Leave it with a nice wide base and I'm gonna set this down right here. We're gonna put together the other pieces. So you can now put whatever pro photo modifier you want onto this guy. If you want to use soft boxes, we have to put them together. Right? A lot of people make a big deal out of this process. But once again you can actually, I think Magma now does make modifiers or accessories that will get their modifiers onto pro photo heads, you can do that. So if you value speed and set up this thing is super quick, you're gonna see me do it in just a moment. But if you're more about the portability side, which is where I'm at, this is what the soft boxes will look like and this is how they travel. So they're really easy to compress down the downside to them, which I'm not gonna lie. It's kind of annoying but it's not as big of a deal as people make is that this is what it looks like. So when you unpack it you basically have these rods and you have to stick these rods into this ring. Is it as difficult as people make it? No, I'm gonna actually show you right now. So all you're gonna do is you can see on the ends of these rods they actually color these. So depending on what modifier using some of those modifiers will match up to these colors, right? This green one is going to go into every single slot, but some of them like you only put into the blues or whatever, so you just line up the color to the the ring color. So all I'm gonna do is is pop this in. I'm gonna try to keep this close actually. Okay, and the only real trick here is just making sure that you don't accidentally grab the wrong rods. So once I start, I want to make sure that I'm grabbing the rod that's right next to that one, because sometimes you'll grab a rod that's actually on the opposite side and you kind of screw it up and have to start over. This does get a little bit more annoying when you're like at the beach and it's like windy and you're trying to do this, but still all in all you're gonna have to make the decision on in terms of like is the portability piece is going to be bigger to you or is the speed of setup is going to be a bigger deal? Okay, I'm almost there already. Mhm. Okay, so that was in in real time, right, we've got this set up, I think it took maybe a minute or so to set up and then all you're gonna do from here is make sure that each of these are locked in. If not, you'll get this weird shape to your soft box and then just close up these little these little velcro pieces, Why do you want to make sure that these velcro pieces are closed? Because if not lights gonna spill out the side, you're not only gonna lose power, but you won't be able to control the light, it won't go where you want to, it's gonna go other places. So you're just going to close up the velcro. There's got to be more elegant solution to velcro by now, but it is what it is. Okay, so this is now ready to go and all you're gonna do is place this right over the flash head. Let me just turn this to the side. You make sure that this little thing, so this ring, sometimes it ends up being closed so just make sure that it's actually opened. Place it right over the head and then you're going to go ahead and snap the ring down and it's ready. So that's our 250 slash 500 watt second set up. I want you guys to just keep in mind and remember that when I'm using this setup on location, I'm gonna brace it with my bag, my bag becomes a sandbag When I'm on the beach, I'm not gonna put a modifier on here without someone holding this or without a more secure stand and set up. Okay? So please please please keep that in mind. Next, let's do a 400 watt seconds set up using 82 hundreds as well as mag mod. Just for the sake of simplicity, let me put this off to the side for right now we're going to set up the mag box. The things that we need is two of these 8200. You'll notice that I only have one actually, but you can use it with one, but to get 400 watt seconds, you'll need two of them. We have the mag ring as well as the mag shoe. I believe this all comes together in the mag box purchase and then I'm also going to show you kind of how the grids and everything else works in conjunction. This is pretty easy to do. So all you're gonna do is place this guy, it works the same way as a flash. We're gonna place it right into this little hot shoe and then tighten this down so it's locked into place. Okay, so once again, this is nice and secure. Now all we do is we take an 8200, you'll notice that already have the grip onto these. Okay, so this grip just comes off and it's a little bit annoying when you first get the mag grips because they can be fairly tight but you're just gonna open it up and stretch it onto here, just like I did right here. So again one side goes on first. I find this to be the easiest way you kinda just hold it from one side and then pull and stretch it across the other. If you're having a hard time with it, ask someone that's big and strong to help you out. Okay so with that now we just open up these two sides. So obviously if you had to you're going to place two of them in there but if you just have one that's totally fine it's gonna magnet into place, it's not yet secure, you need to place them and then close the brackets on both sides until you hear the click. And if you don't hear the click it's most likely because this isn't quite seated properly. So look right here, see how this isn't quite in right there. So I have to move it a little bit to get it pressed down. Now it's seated properly. Now this is super secure again, this isn't gonna go anywhere. Okay, so you're good to go, I can put this onto my flash stand so let's do that the same way as we did with the pro photo set up. We just bring it right over the stand side. Note this is a pretty big setup. I wouldn't use man photo nana stands for this. I would get one of the larger stands that we recommended. But this is how easy it is to actually open up and set up the soft box. Now all you're gonna do is this ring on the inside, you just push down on it so as soon as I push down it opens up and snaps into place. This thing attaches via the magnets because it's magnet mod products are all magnet based. Okay, you hear that little snap your again? Good to go. You can put your diffuser on the front, I wouldn't shoot with it open like this. Use that diffuser that it comes with. Um but that's the setup, so a bit easier to set up. But obviously you don't get the portability on that side to break this down. You're going to use this guy right here to detach this unit and then go ahead and you pull up on the ring. Mhm. This is as broken down as it gets. So the case that this thing comes with is is quite big and you'll have to kind of porter around and figure out a way to get it where you wanted to go. But everything else is super easy with this. You can still use the same grids, the same attachments. You just place them right over the front. You can place grids and uh and gels directly over the magma, odd items on each side, just like this. Okay, you wouldn't actually do this, but you might do to gels to color the light and whatnot. They also have a jail system for the actual mag box too. So I'm hoping that this makes things much more simple. It gives you a few different setups based on whatever style you might want to be shooting with. And it also gives you kind of this little fun idea of what lighting gear used to be, which, from my personal experience was nothing fun. It was horrible. It was horrible. But now you have three simple setups. Hope you'll enjoy. Let's go on to the next video.

Class Description


  • Use flash to create dramatic portraits.
  • Use flash to create natural portraits.
  • Balance flash with ambient light.
  • Use and understand off-camera flash.
  • Understand off-camera flash gear and setups.


Let’s be honest, flash photography is intimidating. Many photographers never learn the power of flash because at first glance it looks complicated and overwhelming. This course is the exact opposite. In around 90 minutes, you will walk away not only understanding flash gear, but also having a simple framework to immediately begin using flash in your own work.

I’m going to show you how easy flash can be. From creating dramatic portraits straight out of camera, to using flash for a more natural and soft look. You will walk away from this course with everything you need to get started using flash. Should you choose to dive deeper down the rabbit hole of lighting, this course will also prepare you for the Lighting Series, a four workshop intensive that covers the ins and outs of location lighting for portraiture.


  • Beginners that understand their camera
  • Beginners that want to start learning flash
  • Beginners that want to learn how to use flash for portrait


LPye Jirsa is a photographer, educator, author, podcaster and lifelong learner. He has made a career out of creating frameworks that simplify complex subjects. Frameworks that have helped millions of people learn languages, creativity, photography, lighting, business, communication and even relationships.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Gary Hook

Pye is a talented instructor with a wealth of knowledge. He has an excellent technique of brining out the learning points and does an excellent job at the end of the sessions through summary. He provides some handy tools to assist the beginner to get out and shooting pictures with simple, easy to remember steps, e.g. CAMP. While I am a huge fan of building a foundation of theoretical knowledge, the majority of the first 8 sessions was more on an informercial for Profoto to the point of being painful. A few examples if I may. Pye tells us he is not familiar with the Godox menu system but then sings the praises of Profoto because it is so easy to use? Mmmm, maybe if you actually understood the Godox system you would find it easier to use? When it comes to modifiers, you stress that the Profoto is so much better because of its portability even though it takes more time to set-up than the competition; however when it comes to Menu systems the GoDox is not as good because it takes more time. So one is okay even though it takes more time but one is NOT good because it takes more time? No paradox here right I appreciated his chart to demonstrate the differences between Groups and Channels; however, when using the same identifier for both, e.g. letters, it can be confusing. From my perspective identifying Groups as Teachers using a # and Channels as students using letters (A,B,C,D) would reduce the risk of confusion. Instruction 101: if you are going to demonstrate something, learn it before you take up screen time! Profoto has the most counter-intuitive number system for power. How does 9 out of 10 make one think of 50% power? Session 8 – 2 minutes of actual information crammed into 15:40! With respect to terminology, Pye asks do we really need Master/Slave? I’d ask do we really need “Air” versus “Radio”? good tips on Trouble Shooting Overall the last four sessions made the whole session worth it. The simplified and structured approach of CAMP was brought out nicely with the dramatic and natural on-location shoots. Well done

Kriss Ward

This has been one of my favorite courses so far on Creative Live. A great starting point for OCF. I really enjoy Pye's teaching methods as I have seen them on other platforms so I was excited to find this here. Not only does he explain things in digestible bites, but also his demos are helpful too! Will definitely be watching the more in depth series that follows!

Angie Martin

This is a wonderful class! I was able to apply these concepts right away for a senior portrait shoot. i was like, "Wow! Pye was right!" I have learned not to tweak 100 different things at once and get confused. His CAMP system makes SO much sense...clarifies everything. Thank you, Pye, for this. You're a wonderful teacher! Marry me! I'll wait.